Late-Night Coffee And Conversations At Elementaria

elementaria cafe bkc lower parel


Elementaria is a direct contrast to the reservation-only fine-dining restaurants at BKC. Patrons can linger over coffee, nibble croissants, or chat till 1 a.m. at this cosy cafe that serves a host of delicious desserts and beverages. They also have an outpost at Lower Parel.

Elementaria, Shop 1A, Godrej Jet Airways Building, Bandra Kurla Complex, Mumbai 400 051. Phone: 077380 73812; Shop 10, Khimji Nagji Chawl 1, Opposite Phoenix High Street, Lower Parel, Mumbai 400 013. Phone: 077380 99212


It’s one of those nights when dinner just isn’t enough. The steady stream of overlapping exchanges over fluffy poee and cashew-infused tipples has failed to satiate us. We could do with coffee, but neither our taste buds nor our wallets are tempted by the options at hand. After much dilly-dallying, we call our respective taxis and start departing in ones and twos. When our party dwindles to four, we decide to take a wee walk around the block. Ten steps into our midnight stroll, I spot warm lighting, wooden interiors, and a coffee machine.

Ten minutes later, we’re staring at the delectable display at Elementaria. Not so long ago we were bursting with stories, now our priorities seem to have shifted from coffee and conversation to chocolate and more chocolate. How does one choose between an intense chocolate tub cake and whisky cupcake? Or between a Snickers pastry and a Ferrero Rocher brownie? One doesn’t.

Then there’s the stuff that’s not on display. The Cutting Dessert is an assortment of mousse, cakes, and cheesecakes set and served in cutting chai glasses. The Ele Pots have ice cream, waffles, fudge, cupcakes, choco balls, jelly beans, and sprinkles. Maybe even unicorns and rainbows. The staple sandwiches and wraps seem boring in comparison, but there’s a list of dessert croissants that we vow to demolish on our next visit. Then we have a chocolate tart to celebrate the discovery of our new 1 a.m. coffee and dessert haunt.
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Savour Fresh Seafood At Jai Hind Lunch Home

jai hind lunch home lower parel


Jai Hind Lunch Home is a restaurant in Lower Parel that specialises in Indian coastal cuisine. Popular with the nearby office crowd, it is always busy at lunch. Vegetarian options are also available on the menu.

Jai Hind Lunch Home, 7/8, Madhav Bhuvan, ‘B’ Block, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel (w), Mumbai 400 013. Phone: 022 2493 0010


In 2005, Kamala Mills wasn’t the behemoth it is today, and across the street at Mathuradas Mills, the only food option inside the large premises was a sev puri stall. But there was – and still is – in Lower Parel Jai Hind Lunch Home.

Jai Hind serves some of the best seafood dishes in the city, as good as – if not better than – the oft-lauded Trishna and Mahesh. Don’t believe me? Believe the crowds congregating on the pavement at lunch every day. If you want a meal without the wait, you’d best arrive by 12:45 p.m. – 12:30 to be safe. A minute later and you’ll be standing around outside while the patrons inside are busy relishing their fresh catch of the day.

The dozen or so tables are packed to the brim as the kitchen whips up dish after delicious seafood dish to satiate the hungry diners. The satisfying crunch of the koliwada prawns is best appreciated with a dash of lemon juice and nothing else. The tisrya ajadina is the only clam dish on the menu – a dry, coconut-laden masala enveloping the clams to perfection. You’re forgiven for ignoring the neer dosa you may have ordered. Neither of these appetisers requires an accompaniment.

You move on to the curries from cuisines of India’s western coast – pulimunchi and gassi from Mangalore, vindaloo and rechado from Goa, malvani from Maharashtra. You ignore the tandoori options entirely. You wash it all down with a chilled sol kadi. Lunch is over before you know it, and you’re too full to get up. But you have to because there are people waiting outside, peering in each time the door opens to see when their turn will arrive. The landscape of Lower Parel may have changed drastically since 2005, but the size of the crowds outside Jai Hind has not.

Feature photograph copyright Muhammed – stock.adobe.com


Your Guide To Buying Comic Books In Mumbai




Most people seem to assume that, as a writer with two MAs in English Studies, I ring out my days with the works of Foucault, Genet, Pynchon, and such. For the most part, they would be right. But smuggled into my edifying literary library lies a filthy secret—a slab of beloved comic books, powder-fine from age.

Comics, I suspect, are still seen by people as being not quite the thing, old chap. To these people I say, “Go away”. Go away, and take your barren, strait-laced pleasures with you. There is a time for Jane Eyre and a time for Hawkgirl: comics are far too pleasurable to be sullied by the vapidity of a bunch of sanctimonious puritans. For many of us, Phantom, Mandrake, and Flash Gordon are the plinth on which our library of reading is raised. Which is why, every so often, you may catch me stapled to the comics section in your friendly, neighbourhood bookstore, dribbling over Art Spiegelman, surrounded by shambolic piles of Justice League Dark and Mister Miracle comics—in short, happy. Here is a smattering of stores that I frequent to get my fix of favourites.


Upstairs at Granth, cocooned from the bedlam of car horns on Juhu Tara Road, is a small sanctuary for superheroes. If you pan its shelves for glimmers of comic gold, you’ll find plenty of Watchmen, the luminous Mandela: The Graphic Novel, a watermelon-hefty Drawn & Quarterly anthology, and Black Hole (Charles Burns’s graphic novel about teen angst generously leavened with horror) together with a hank of DC, Vertigo, Dark Horse, and Marvel collections.

Granth, 30/A, HM House, Juhu Tara Road, Mumbai 400 049. Phone: 022 2660 9327

VL Nayak

What VL Nayak lacks in square footage it makes up for in density of choice. As a child, I teetered and tottered through the tiny shop, pillaging the shelves like a bandit, carting away heaps of MAD magazines, Tinkle, Amar Chitra Katha, and (as a tremendous treat), DC and Marvel singles. It is a river I continue to drink from—it still stacks a whole coterie of pulp writing.

VL Nayak, Plot No. 8126, Surajpati Bhavan, 1st Road, Opp. Rly Station, Khar (w), Mumbai 400 052. Phone: 022 2648 4082

Title Waves

Over at Title Waves in Bandra, you’ll find a sort of Top 20 hits of the comic world; nothing terribly esoteric, no Cable or Birds of Prey, just the usual Marvel and DC titles, Neil Gaiman, Peanuts, and Tintin. Title Waves also ventures into collectables territory, with a small shrine to memorabilia such as t-shirts, figurines, mugs, and other baubles.

Title Waves, St Pauls Media Complex, 24th Road, Off Turner Road, Bandra (w), Mumbai 400 050. Phone: 022 2651 0841


Raghuvanshi Mills’ Trilogy store is scalpelled into two sections—the library and the bookstore. The collection at the store reads like a roster of high art comics, all beautifully rendered but haphazardly stacked. What can you buy here? Shigeru Mizuki’s bizarre, protean manga, Showa: A History Of Japan. Joe Sacco’s Journalism, a ferocious comic that scrapes at the wounds of the world’s worst war zones. And among many others, the extraordinary graphic novel based on Martin Luther King’s life, I See the Promised Land, written by Arthur Flowers and illustrated by a Patua scroll artist, Manu Chitrakar.

Trilogy, 1st floor, Building No. 28, Above Mercedes Service Center, Raghuvanshi Mills Compound, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel (w), Mumbai 400 013. Phone: 080805 90590


Once a fine bookshop chain of some stature, Crossword has now mutated into a sort of portmanteau of DVD toy/book store—a Frankenstore if you will. Still, it does venture briefly into the comic realm; a small collection (mostly DC’s Justice League) reposes on its shelves, an excellent gateway to those who came to the comics via their live-action movie versions.

Crossword Bookstores across the city.

Leaping Windows

It would be folly to leave out Leaping Windows, a space reverential of comics, packed with perfectly organised pages and pages of Neil Gaiman, plenty from the DC and Marvel multiverses, as well as the ubiquitous Tintin, Calvin & Hobbes and Asterix. All this, and a cheery café to boot.

Leaping Windows, 3 Corner View, Dr. Ashok Chopra Marg, Off Yari Road, Andheri (w), Mumbai 400 061. Phone: 097699 98972

*Special mention: Kitab Khana, which has shelves heaving with Amar Chitra Katha, Asterix and Tintin, a collection hidebound by nostalgia.
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Spoilt For Choice At Poetry By Love And Cheesecake


poetry by love and cheesecake


Poetry By Love And Cheesecake is a café in Bandra that is kind to the keto (low carb diet), vegan, and gluten-free diets. Of particular note are its desserts, specifically the baked New York cheesecake. Those not dieting needn’t despair – there are plenty of carb-filled and non-vegetarian options as well. Poetry also has outlets at Lower Parel and Fort.

Poetry By Love And Cheesecake. Bandra: Pali Darshan, 33rd Road, Bandra (w), Mumbai 400 050. Phone: 082912 95412. Lower Parel: Kamala Mills, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel (w), Mumbai 400 013. Fort: Machinery House, Ground Floor, Bharucha Marg, Kala Ghoda, Fort, Mumbai 400 001. Phone: 022 6237 8411


Scrumptious cheesecake, filled with love,

Humble bread left scorned, sulking

Forgive the poor attempt at a poem, but I am still trying to get over a bruschetta without bread! Then again, that’s the beauty of Poetry besides the mellow interiors and framed verses on the walls. With the kitchen serving keto (low carb diet), vegan, and gluten-free meals, the menu needs your attention, or you might just overlook the purple star besides the bruschetta and start penning poetry. You will polish off the plate nevertheless, given the perfectly grilled chicken and fresh tomatoes and sprouts.

Spoilt for choice, you will then move on to the cheesecake, happy to have missed the carbs, leaving room for all the sugar. As you pick from Nutella, salted caramel, Oreo, and tiramisu, to name a few, more trysts will follow. Eventually, you will find your rhyme. The baked New York cheesecake sings for me each time. As does Devil’s Desire, which comes with a layer of caramel, Belgian chocolate, mousse, and hazelnut.

The savoury list here is just as long, with a variety of pastas, salads, and meals cooked around avocado, chia seeds, kale, and cheese. In the mornings, they are also kind to bread. The breakfast spread spans freshly baked focaccia, croissants, multi-grain, along with muffins, herb butter, eggs, and a coffee that can hold its own. Just like Poetry, which can draw in the health-nut and sugar-crazed with equal elan.

Feature photograph copyright skumer – stock.adobe.com


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A Goan Girl’s Guide To Goan Food In Mumbai




Goan food is the new flavour of the season in Mumbai. Tourists who travel to the sunshine state clearly can’t get enough of the food – the choris or cutlet pao; the Portuguese-influenced rissois, vindalho, and sorpotel; the coconut and amsol-filled curries; and the coconut-milk based dodol and bebinca.

It’s an experience that is now possible to avail of – sometimes at a price – in the city. There’s no feni or shack, and the sunshine and sand are missing, but a few restaurants in the city are doing their bit to provide a feel and a taste of Goan cuisine.


This eating house is often ignored by those seeking out the more popular New Martin around the corner, but a visit to this four-seater restaurant will surprise you. Gables – which offers free WiFi – has a faux tiled roof inside and two glass-fronted stands showcasing chops, cutlets, and other fried snacks, and even a bookshelf filled with old magazines and the odd cookbook.

Mel, the in-house cat, will keep you company you while you eat. There are also a few Italian dishes on the menu, but skip those and opt for the sorpotel (with chunky bits of pork) or sausage chilly fry mopped up with fresh pao. The prawn rava fry or calamari fry will satiate your seafood cravings.

Gables, Glamour Building, Colaba Causeway, Opposite Shiv Mandir, Apollo Bandar, Colaba, Mumbai 400 005. 092242 69773


Walking into Snowflake is like going back in time. Nostalgia oozes out of the marble topped tables, sepia-tinted photos stuffed in dusty shelves, and creaking fans. The day’s specials, a stock list of about 10 dishes, can be found scrawled on a whiteboard in the corner. The cats at the entrance all seem to embody the susegaad feeling of the place – you may sometimes feel like stretching yourself out and curling up into a ball after a good meal here. It is here that I find food that comes closest to what my mother prepares at home – offal laden sorpotel; the tangy fish curry, ambotik; tongue roast with browned onions and just a hint of gravy, and quite the best fish cutlets I’ve eaten in the city.

Snowflake Restaurant, 18, Ribeiro Building, Ground Floor, 1st Dhobitalao Lane, Mumbai 400 002.

Snow Flake_002

Soul Fry

Soul Fry is 20 years old and enjoys iconic status in Bandra, not the least for those weekly karaoke nights that, I’m told, also serve as good matchmaking venues! Festivities apart, Meldan D’Cunha, the affable owner the place, loves experimenting with food. This finds the form of lesser known Goan, East Indian, Koli, and Manglorean food. Here, the cafreal, prawn recheado, and sausage fry find place with the Portuguese-influenced crab xec xec, caldeirada (Portuguese fish stew) and Guisado De Galinha (chicken stew). These are best washed down with pints of beer for that perfect laidback vibe.

Soul Fry, Ground Floor, Silver Craft, Opposite Pali Sabji Market, Pali Mala Road, Bandra (w), Mumbai 400 050. Phone: 022 2604 6892

Sushegad Gomantak

Sandwiched between shops selling Keralite fare and kebabs in Mahim, Sushegad Gomantak isn’t easy on the eyes. What it lacks in appearance it makes up for with delicious food and warm service. The only wall décor here is a chart showcasing the fish in the Indian Ocean with their local names, a blown-up clipping of a newspaper article mentioning the place, and the day’s specials. There’s a menu of course, but everyone comes here for the fish – eaten fried or in a curry.

It is here that I always manage to find xinanio (mussels), best eaten fried and piping hot; kalwa (oysters), typically had in a thick curry; and muddoshi (lady fish), also eaten fried. The restaurant’s cooking style is Goan Hindu and is heavy on curries, many of which don’t feature coconut. The fried fish comes with a thick coating of rice flour and rava and isn’t oily. Other stand out dishes include prawn cutlets accompanied by a thin, green chutney; tisrya sukhe – shellfish served with a garam masala and coconut mixture; and a crab thali featuring one huge crab in a spicy red curry.

Sushegad Gomantak, Shop No. 1 – 11, Shiv Sagar Coperative Housing Society, Lady Jamshedji Road, Opposite Crown Bakery, Mahim (w), Mumbai 400 016. Phone: 022 2444 5555

goan food mumbai

New Martin Hotel

This iconic institution in Colaba is a simple, no-frills place. The formica topped tables, high seating, two blackboards announcing the day’s specials – the interiors may not have changed even if the owners did. “Goan meals served here” is proudly painted on the door shutters and on a small board hanging outside.

The hotel now has Manglorean owners, but the food is still Goan, heavy on the spices. The beef chilly fry is succulent and spicy, prawns pulao has golden long grained rice heaped over a masala prawns, and pork sorpotel is adequately greasy and flavourful. Their specialty is beef steak, cooked until tender and served with generous helpings of onions and potatoes. Here, just like at Udupi restaurants, you might have to sometimes share a table with strangers. There’s no need for conversation, everyone is too busy eating.

New Martin Hotel, 11, Glamour House, Strand Road, Apollo Bandar, Colaba, Mumbai 400 005. Phone: 022 2202 9606

Fresh Catch

A pelican with his catch of the day greets you at the entrance of Mahim icon Fresh Catch. It’s an indication that, if nothing else, you can get good fish here.

The interiors remind me of an old aunt’s home – patterned napkins, red checked tablecloths, black chairs, sepia-tinted photos on the wall, and music from the ’70s and ’80s. The service is warm and the food homely. Best known for its butter garlic crab, Fresh Catch also dishes up stellar bangda jeera meera, a spicy and tangy balchao, prawns sukka, and a wholesome seafood pulao filled with juicy prawns, crabmeat, and shellfish. The prices may be a tad expensive for Goan grub, but the food is delicious, which makes it worth it.

Fresh Catch, 144/C, Diamond Court Chawl, PN Kotnis Road, Mahim (w), Mumbai 400 016. Phone: 022 2444 8942

goan food guide bombay


Mangoes, a rooftop restaurant in Orlem, gets its name from the fact that the owners are Goan and Manglorean (they serve both cuisines). The décor here is spartan with plastic chairs and tables. It doesn’t matter, because Mangoes serves some hearty Goan fare, largely focuses on non-vegetarian food. There’s both beef and pork roast – both of which are so popular, people freeze them and take them abroad; tongue jeere mere, caldin, the street staple rice omelette, cutlets, and potato chops.

Mangoes, 601, 6th floor, Almar Arcade, Near Punjab National Bank, Orlem, Malad (w), Mumbai 400 064. Phone: 022 2801 5552

O Pedro

The food here isn’t Goan the way I’ve grown up eating it, but it is delicious and inspired by Goan food, which makes for some interesting dishes. There’s rissois stuffed with crab (rather than prawns) and coated with Panko crumbs; kalchi koddi served as a sauce with boiled eggs, kismur with raw papaya and shrimp, red rice sannas, and serradurra with orange segments. There’s even a sourdough poee, best paired with chorizo butter. The best dish is the veal tongue prosciutto, a take on salted tongue with pickled cucumber and a garlic-mustard aioli.

The interiors – some call it granny chic – are filled with knick knacks and elements expected in an old house: cane backed chairs, hanging creepers, red tiles, and plates on the walls. A good place to hang out at is at the polished wooden bar, sipping on the homemade Vasco Sour with its hit of Goan toddy vinegar while tapping your feet to the music.

O Pedro, Unit No 2, Plot No C-68, Jet Airways – Godrej BKC, Bandra Kurla Complex, Mumbai 400 051. Phone: 022 2653 4700

o pedro goan food guide mumbai


  1. Feature photograph copyright manubahuguna – stock.adobe.com
  2. Snowflake photograph by Suruchi Maira
  3. Sushegad Gomanak photograph by Suruchi Maira
  4. Thali photograph by Praveen (originally posted to Flickr as Fish curry rice) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
  5. O Pedro photograph courtesy O Pedro



Your Guide To Finding Fantastic Christmas Gifts (One Week Before Christmas)




Have you been too busy to buy all your Christmas gifts? Did you forget to add someone to the gift list? (Hey, it happens). Maybe you’ve been looking but just haven’t found the right gift yet. We know how that feels. We’ve rounded up some of our favourite gift options to help you buy the perfect holiday gifts.

Kulture Shop

We love Kulture Shop’s commitment to celebrating Indian artists. With an extensive collection of themes, styles, and products (think prints, t-shirts, laptop skins, cushion covers, coasters…), they’re sure to have something for everyone on your list. We recommend getting a set of prints to liven up any wall – perhaps the Cat in a Window series for the Cat Lover in your life?

You can shop for gifts on Kulture Shop’s website or visit their stores. Prices start at Rs. 500 and go up to Rs. 2,000 for a single, unframed print (depending on size).

Bandra: Hill View 2, 2nd Floor, 241 Hill Road, Opposite Mehboob Studio, Bandra (w), Mumbai 400 050. Phone: 022 2655 0982.
Fort: 9 Examiner Press, 115 Nagindas Master Road, Kala Ghoda, Fort, Mumbai 400 001. Phone: 022 2267 7006

christmas gifts guide

Bombay Perfumery

After years of receiving (and gifting) endless bottles of Hugo Boss and Issey Miyake, we’re glad to have an unconventional, home-grown perfume brand we can support. Bombay Perfumery is a boutique perfume brand created right here in Mumbai. They have three fragrances for men, three for women, and two unisex options across the scent spectrum – from fruity and floral to woody and spicy.

You can shop for perfumes on Bombay Perfumery’s website or from their stockists in the city. Prices start at Rs. 3,900 for a 100ml bottle.

christmas gifts guide


Bold and creative aptly describe Kichu Dandiya’s eponymous jewellery brand. Her brass jewellery makes for a perfect statement piece without making too much of a fuss. From sharp, angular pieces to animal designs, all of Kichu’s jewellery is handcrafted and simple. What’s not to love?

You can buy Kichu jewellery from their website or at Fantastique, 5, Battery Street, Colaba, Mumbai 400 001.

christmas gifts guide


It may be a tiny store tucked away in Kala Ghoda, but Filter packs a punch when it comes to unique, creative, contemporary products with a vintage twist. They stock a variety of artists and brands, including their in-house stationery and prints. It’s their notebooks that first caught our eye and had us opening our wallets. We particularly love the vintage notebooks made from authentic, old publications – pages from dictionaries, magazines, journals, and even Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!

You can shop Filter’s in-house brand products on their website or at the store at 43 V.B. Gandhi Marg, Kala Ghoda, Behind Rhythm House, Fort, Mumbai 400 001. Phone: 022 2288 7070. Vintage notebooks start at Rs. 225.

christmas gifts guide

Pahadi Local

We’re early adopters of Pahadi Local and have been using their flagship product Gutti Ka Tel (apricot kernel oil) since it launched in 2015. Since then, they’ve expanded their range of products to include walnut oil, apricot kernel face and body scrubs, face and body clay packs, and even honey, tea, pashminas, and silver bracelets. Made from natural, ethically sourced ingredients in the hills of Himachal Pradesh, their products are available individually or as part of gift hampers.

You can shop for Pahadi Local’s products on their website or at Good Earth stores. Gutti Ka Tel starts at Rs. 500 for 50ml. Gift hampers start at Rs. 900.

Colaba: 2 Reay House, Apollo Bandar, Colaba, Mumbai 400 005. Phone: 022 2202 1030
Lower Parel: 11-12, Raghuvanshi Mills Compound, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel (w), Mumbai 400 013. Phone: 022 2495 1954
Juhu: R/154, Ground Floor, Juhu Tara Road, Opposite JW Marriott Hotel, Juhu, Mumbai 400 049. Phone: 022 2611 2481

christmas gifts guide

Blue Tokai Coffee

If there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that coffee lovers are always happy to receive a gift of coffee. We’ve always been vocal about our love for Blue Tokai and their delicious brews. They sell their beans on their website, so you can gift a caffeine fiend one (or more) of several blends packaged just how they like to drink it – cold brew, French press, espresso, aeropress, moka pot, coffee filter…the list goes on. They also sell subscriptions, (in 6, 12, or 24 deliveries), starter kits, equipment, and gift boxes.

You can shop for Blue Tokai’s coffees on their website. Gift boxes start at Rs. 800 for a 4-pack of 75gms each. Individual blends are priced at Rs. 400 each for 250gms.

christmas gifts guide

Dancing Leaf Tea

Tea drinkers are in luck – we’ve searched high and low for a delicious blend of teas to gift and found the perfect option. Dancing Leaf is a local brand that brings the flavours of India, South Africa, China, Japan, and Taiwan in a teacup. We can tell you from experience, having drunk copious amounts of their Egyptian Mint and Fennel Green teas, that every tea drinker needs Dancing Leaf in their life. You can buy their teas loose or as tea temples, but we recommend their wooden chests as the perfect gift from their collection.

You can buy Dancing Leaf Tea from their website or at select retail locations. Wooden tea chests start at Rs. 1,650 for 18 tea temples (6 temples each of 3 flavours). Tea temples (tin of 25) and loose leaf teas (100gms) start at Rs. 600. Prices vary depending on flavour.

Foodhall, Level 3, Palladium Mall, High Street Phoenix, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel (w), Mumbai 400 013. Phone: 022 3026 4581
Cornucopia, 392, Kings Circle, Brhmanwada, Matunga, Mumbai 400 019. Phone: 022 2408 7928

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Sky Goodies

Tired of boring calendars and gift boxes? So are we. That’s why we’re glad we found Sky Goodies, a brand of paper and digital products that’s big on bright colours, intricate patterns, and DYI fun. A desk calendar that doubles up as a pen stand is fun, practical, and sure to brighten up a staid workspace. But what we fell in love with at first sight are their hot air balloon-shaped hanging lamp shades, perfect for a holiday party or even just as a pretty decoration.

You can buy Sky Goodies’ products from their website or their store at 1st Floor, Bungalow No. 29, Chuim Village Road, Khar (w), Mumbai 400 052. Phone: 097688 88688. The lamp shades are priced at Rs. 299 (small) and Rs. 499 (big).

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Pooja Dhingra’s The Wholesome Kitchen

The perfect gift for anyone who is a health freak but also loves food, The Wholesome Kitchen is a gift that keeps giving. You could blindfold yourself, open to any page of the book, and find a recipe so simple and delicious that stepping out to get doughnuts seems like a chore. The perfect Christmas gift? Yeah, we think so.

PS: Once the book has been gifted, there’s no harm in hounding the giftee to whip up the Chia Seed Falooda and Oat and Date Bites to share.

You can buy The Wholesome Kitchen (Rs. 471) on Amazon.

christmas gifts guide

The City Story

Ok, we may be biased here, but we do think our collection of art prints makes for a pretty decent holiday gift. We’ve got the lemon yellow, water-colour illustration of Mumbai painted by Prashant Miranda (complete with tiny flamingos and ferries) and bold red depiction of Bandra by Svabhu Kohli (have fun spotting your favourite landmarks in the neighbourhood) for you to choose from, and we can guarantee that neither will disappoint. It’s a little slice of the city you call home – what makes for a better gift than that?

You can buy The City Story’s art prints (Rs. 1,800 each) from our website shop or at Kulture Shop (online and in store and Filter (please see addresses above).

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12 Hours In And Around Lower Parel




Tall, crumbling chimneys peek out between sleek office towers. Vibrant chawls, once home to the city’s mill workers, are dwarfed by glass high-rises with swimming pools. Sloping, wooden beams lend support and character to new restaurants built inside skeletal textile mills. You’re never too far away from a physical reminder of Lower Parel’s former glory. This is where the old and new co-exist, and spending a day here is akin to a roller coaster ride that dips you into the past and then accelerates you into the future. Strap in for the ride.

9:00 a.m.

Option A – La Folie Patisserie

If you shut your eyes, soak in the sunshine and inhale the aroma of freshly ground coffee, you could be in Paris. Open your eyes and you’re seated at the little nook by the window at La Folie Patisserie, watching the early office bunch trickle in, dreaming about Eggs Benedict. A few things to remember: you can’t share the croissant because it’s too flaky to cut; don’t be surprised to see copious amounts of avocado in your Avo Bowl; everything off the girdle is worth the wait, especially the Belgian waffles with Nutella and maple coulis. La Folie Lab, Unit no. 10, Trade World ‘B’, Kamala Mills, Lower Parel (w), Mumbai 400 013. Phone: 096999 93350. Opens at 8 a.m. daily

Option B – D:OH

Green chairs, comfort food and a quick game of Scrabble – D:OH is the perfect embodiment of starting your day right. The airy, sunlit cafe offers fuss-free breakfast favourites like French Toast, Banana Pancakes, and Akuri. Hash browns are crispy and buttery, and the coffee feels like home. Time saved by the concise breakfast menu can be spent wisely in front of the beer display. D:OH, Ground Floor, Unit 2B, Trade View, Kamala City, Kamala Mills, Lower Parel (w), Mumbai 400 013. Phone: 022 6237 2829. Opens at 9 a.m. daily Lower Parel Guide_004

Option C – Poornima

Get in the thick of the action by leaving Kamala Mills and making your way down Tulsi Pipe Road to Poornima. An outpost of the iconic eatery in Fort, this non-descript South-Indian joint is where the locals fuel up for the manic day ahead. You’ll find corporate workers, bank managers, and mill workers tucking into Mangalore buns, rasam vada, and onion uttapams while students share a single plate of sheera. You can’t go wrong with Poornima’s quick service and dependable food. No bad morning ever started with pudi dosa and lassi. Poornima, Shop No 9, 237- A, Rustam Handere Building, Opp. Peninsula Lower Parel Compound, Ganapatrao Kadam Marg, Lower Parel, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400013. Phone: 022 2495 7600. Opens at 8 a.m. (closed on Sundays)

11:00 a.m.

Option A – Piramal Museum Of Art

Once you’ve demolished your pudi dosa, just cross the busy road and waltz into Peninsula Corporate Park with a full tummy. Walk into the central atrium of the Piramal Tower to find refuge from all the corporate humdrum. The Piramal Museum of Art is one of only two private art museums in the city and is luckily unknown to most tourists. The private art collection of Ajay and Swati Piramal boasts works by Akbar Padamsee, Jehangir Sabavala, MF Husain, FN Souza, and many others. The venue has an active calendar filled with regular thematic art exhibitions, talks, workshops, and seminars, as well as a tiny shop selling gift items. Piramal Museum of Art, B Wing, Ground Floor, Piramal Tower, Peninsula Corporate Park, Lower Parel (w), Mumbai 400 013. Phone: 022 3046 6981 Lower Parel Guide_002

Option B – Trilogy Bookstore and Library

Follow the signboards in the Raghuvanshi Mills Compound until you reach the tiny slice of sunlit heaven known as Trilogy. Apart from the usual literary fare, this library/bookshop stocks graphic novels, rarer titles, coffee table books, and illustrated material. If you get lost inside the book labyrinth, follow the neon Post-Its with hand-written recommendations from the owners, members, and regular customers. They have an extensive children’s section as well as a separate library membership for the tiny tots. Trilogy, 1st floor, Building No. 28, Above Mercedes Service Center, Raghuvanshi, Mills Compound, Mumbai 400 013. Phone: 080805 90590

1:00 p.m.

Option A – Pravas

If you’re ready for an indulgent meal, Pravas will take you on a culinary journey to Gujarat. The only restaurant in the city centred around a railway theme, Pravas offers the experience of dining inside a recreated train compartment, albeit a rather ornate one. Choose between the unlimited thali, traditional Gujarati snacks, and token street food and top up the meal with a bowl of Locha Mohanthal. If not for the view outside, you could well be aboard the Palace on Wheels. Pravas, Gate No. 4, Beside Smaaash, Kamala Mills, Lower Parel (w), Mumbai 400 013. Phone: 022 3997 1887

Option B – Jai Hind Lunch Home

Jai Hind Lunch Home has been saving corporate lunchgoers for many years now. Like its other branches, the Lower Parel outlet of this dependable chain serves spectacular seafood dishes. Regulars swear by the stuffed bombil and prawns Koliwada, vegetarians order repeats of sol kadi. Peak hours could mean a substantial wait, sharing your table with other eager eaters, and shouting above the din to communicate with your companions. But proceed with patience and you won’t be disappointed. Jai Hind Lunch Home, 7/8, Madhav Bhuvan, ‘B’ Block, Opposite Kamala Mills, Lower Parel (w), Mumbai, 400 013. Phone: 022 2493 0010 Lower Parel Guide_006

Option C – 1 Tablespoon Pizza Kitchen

When you’re at Todi Mill during lunch hour, it’s tempting to ignore all the fledgeling eateries and head straight to the bigger names. Dare to digress and you will be rewarded with the most delicious pizza in the vicinity. 1 Tablespoon Pizza Kitchen has little more than one table and just about enough chairs to accommodate a medium-sized group, but the menu runs for pages. With names like Ciao Chili, Blowing Fire, and Maillard Reaction, every pizza sounds promising. When the thin crust pizza arrives at your table crisped to perfection and loaded with toppings, you know they also deliver on their promises. 1 Tablespoon Pizza Kitchen, Unit 1, The New Mahalaxmi Silk Mills Premises, Mathuradas Mill Compound, Between Zaffran & Cafe Zoe, Mumbai 400 013. Phone: 075064 33908 

3:00 p.m.

Option A – Clue Hunt

After lunch, you can shake off the lethargy and engage in a stimulating activity like Clue Hunt. A “room escape” game littered with clues to help solve a mystery in under 60 minutes, Clue Hunt tests your logical skills and ability to work with a team. You can choose between three mysteries: The Stolen Painting, The Diamond Maze, and The Lock-up Mystery. One hour in a closed room, racing against the clock to break free and all traces of lethargy will disappear. Clue Hunt, Ground Floor, CD House, Mathuradas Mill Compound, Behind Cafe Zoe, Lower Parel (w), Mumbai 400 013. Phone: 022 2499 9165

Option B – BARO

If you’d rather give in to your full-belly laziness, take a leisurely stroll over to BARO. Browse through their eclectic collection of furniture, admire the Suzani armchair, intricate Rajasthani phads, vintage lampshades, and lacquered steel trunks. Sink into a couch and curl up next to Laila or Maya. Owner Srila Chatterjee’s dogs know the cosiest spots in the house. BARO, 12, Sun Mill Compound, Tulsi Pipe Road, Lower Parel (w), Mumbai 400 013. Phone: 022 4034 4888 baro srila chatterjee siddharth sirohi

4:30 p.m.

Option A – Blue Tokai

The heady aroma at Blue Tokai is enough to awaken you from your mid-day stupour. Sift through the menu offering cappuccinos, affogatos, and almond croissants before deciding on at least two items. Watch the roastery in action through round glass windows on Wednesdays and Sundays. On other days, you can just concentrate on your cortado and mumble “I love coffee” into your cup. Blue Tokai, Unit 20-22, Laxmi Woollen Mill, Opposite Khazana Furniture, Off Dr. E Moses Road, Mahalakshmi, Mumbai 400 011. Phone: 098200 95887 Lower Parel Guide_003

Option B – The Rolling Pin

If you’re not as finicky about your coffee but go all Masterchef while dissecting your dessert, then The Rolling Pin is the right place for you. On a diet or not, it’s impossible to remain immune to the fragrance of freshly baked goodies. Choose from over 40 types of cakes, tarts, brownies, fudge, and cookies and watch the pastry chefs roll croissants on white worktops while you wait for your coffee. With its mind-boggling variety and vibrant displays, The Rolling Pin could well be the modern version of Hansel and Gretel’s house. No need to leave a breadcrumb trail, the aromas will lead you right back. Pro Tip: Order everything mango on the menu during the summer months. The Rolling Pin, 12, Janta Industrial Estate, Opposite Phoenix Mills, Lower Parel (w), Mumbai 400 013. Phone: 022 4610 4610

Option C – Zen Cafe

Zen Cafe is Lower Parel’s best-kept secret. Located on the mezzanine floor of a furniture store inside a compound filled with similar shops, this vegetarian café is often ignored for more obvious options. The perfect spot for a quick catch-up with a friend or a leisurely date with your current literary flame, Zen Cafe exudes laid-back vibes and churns out top-notch cappuccinos. The couches are inviting and the staff is patient with freelancers, lovers, and bookworms. Zen Cafe, at the Mezzanine of ICasa, Raghuvanshi Mills, Lower Parel (w), Mumbai 400 013. Phone: 022 2498 4825

6:00 p.m.

Option A – Matterden CFC

Matterden CFC is a restored building with an open courtyard, red-tiled roof, and two white elephants. The erstwhile Deepak Cinema was spruced up a few years ago and now screens classics of world cinema, offbeat films, and documentaries, all for under Rs. 125. Grab a packet of popcorn and sink into one of the recently upholstered red seats to enjoy some Kieslowski, Kiarostami, or Kurosawa. Matterden CFC, 38, NM Joshi Marg, BDD Chawl, Lower Parel (w), Mumbai 400 013. Phone: 022 2492 3399 matterden-cinema-deepak

Option B – Sitara Studio

Sitara Studio is a tiny, tiny venue for arts and culture in a narrow alley on the fringes of Lower Parel. Weaving through the evening crowds, dodging handcart pullers, and asking chaiwallas for directions is a crucial component of the Sitara experience. A relatively new entrant on the scene, Sitara didn’t quite announce its entry with a big bang. The venue usually hosts offbeat theatre and music performances and offers its mezzanine space for rehearsals. Check the schedule before going. There’s not much else to do on non-performance days apart from admiring the street art and enjoying a steaming cup of tea from the chaiwalla at the corner. Sitara Studio, Garage Galli, Kakasaheb Gadgil Marg, Opposite Indiabulls Finance Centre, Lower Parel, Mumbai 400 028. Phone: 022 2422 1666

8:00 p.m.

Option A – Ambience

It can be daunting to choose from over 40 watering holes in a 2-mile radius, so go by what suits your mood. And your wallet. If you’re feeling rather stingy and don’t quite want to scan through pages and pages of cocktails, head to Ambience. A favourite with the journalists, technicians, and crew of news channels housed in the vicinity, this local dive under the flyover can no longer be called dingy after a recent renovation, but it still retains some of its coarse glamour. Come here on a Friday night to sip on Old Monk and coke, chomp on paneer chilly, and pick up juicy tidbits about the television news industry. Ambience Bar & Kitchen, 162/D, Jagdamba Bhavan, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel (w), Mumbai 400 013. Phone: 022 2498 5654

Option B – The White Owl

One of the earliest entrants on the micro-brewing scene, The White Owl is often ignored these days in favour of the new kids on the block. Their craft beer is made in small batches and is devoid of any preservatives. Depending on your ale palate, you can choose from Diablo (Irish red ale), Ace (apple cider), Spark (Belgian wit), and a few others and see the brewing equipment set up behind glass walls at the back of the bistro. They also serve delicious finger food, salads and sandwiches. The White Owl, One Indiabulls Center, Tower 2 Lobby, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel (w), Mumbai 400 013. Phone: 022 2421 0231

Option C – The Tasting Room

If wine pairing is as crucial to you as the meal itself, then you’ll find your tribe at The Tasting Room in Raghuvanshi Mills. Housed inside Good Earth, this restaurant has a wine-only drinking list and décor straight out of an anniversary issue of Architectural Digest. The setting is apt for long-flowing conversations over red wine sangria and tiny tasting plates of stuffed brioche and smoked salmon. If you aren’t swaying merrily by the end of dinner, stop at the small bookstore near the entrance for a quick browse. The Tasting Room, 1st Floor, Good Earth, Raghuvanshi Mill Compound, Lower Parel (w), Mumbai 400 013. Phone: 022 6528 5284 Lower Parel Guide_005

Option D – Pa Pa Ya

Walking into Pa Pa Ya feels like you’ve entered an atom in the middle of a chemical reaction. Pretty apt, considering this upscale eatery showcases the finest masterpieces of molecular gastronomy in the city. From the hexagonal light fixtures casting shadows on deep red walls to the chocolate ball that melts away to reveal sweet surprises, everything at Pa Pa Ya has a touch of drama. The Sushi Matrix, a platter of 19 types of sushi, is dramatic just by virtue of size. The potent lemongrass infused vodka could have theatrical repercussions. It’s ironic however that the most exciting course is the one between formal courses – the amuse bouche of rambutan sorbet served in faux oyster shells in a bowl of liquid nitrogen. Pa Pa Ya, Level 3, Palladium Mall, Lower Parel (w), Mumbai 400 013. Phone: 088280 31900 Feature photograph by Superfast1111 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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The Ultimate Guide To The Best Breakfasts In The ‘Bay


best breakfast mumbai



“One should not attend even the end of the world without a good breakfast.” 
― Robert A. Heinlein

We’re fans of all things food, and breakfast might just be our favourite meal of the day. We asked fellow breakfast lovers in the city and on our team about their favourite breakfast places and what they usually order.

Meher Mirza – Writer

meher-mirzaMaska pao from Kyani’s or Bastani’s; it was all I could afford as a college student, and it helped carry me through long hours of Jacobean tragedies and Restoration satire.

Bastani of course, has shut down, but Kyani still jogs along, and sometimes I go back there of a weekday morning, book in hand, to mull over a cup of tea and a maska pao.

Kyani & Co., Ratan Heights, Dr D.B. Road, Opposite Navjivan Society, Mumbai 400 008. Phone: 022 2201 1492

Sumedha Mirani – Associate Creative Director, Edelman India Pvt. Ltd.

Sumedha_200pxMy go-to place for breakfast for years has been The Bagel Shop. I like their menu and the fact that, despite being smack in the middle of a bustling neighbourhood, the moment you step into The Bagel Shop you’re transported to another world. The quaint interiors make you forget you’re in Bombay and bring a sense of comfort. You can spend hours there without realising how much time has passed. The friendly staff only makes it better.

The Bagel Shop, No.30, Pali Mala Road, Pali Hill, Bandra (w), Mumbai 400 050. Phone: 022 2605 0178

Arathi Jayaram – Creative Director, Digital Marketing/Branded Content

Arathi_200pxI love The Pantry in Kala Ghoda. I love their menu, but more than anything I love the decor of the place. Their mint green chairs, the little seats by the window and all the crockery – so pretty!

Café Zoe is another favourite because it’s one of the few places that opens at 7 a.m. When I worked at Saatchi & Saatchi I would go there often with a work friend to talk smack about the people at work over breakfast.

The Pantry, Plot No. 14, Ground Floor, Yashwanth Chambers, B Bharucha Road, Kala Ghoda, Fort, Mumbai 400 001. Phone: 022 2267 8901

Café Zoe, Mathurdas Mills Compound, N.M. Joshi Marg, Lower Parel (w), Mumbai 400 013. Phone: 022 2490 2065

Prarthna Singh – Photographer PSingh_200pxThe shakshuka and raspberry jam at La Folie Lab is amazing. They use beautiful mismatched cutlery and grow their own herbs in and around their small but thoughtfully designed space. La Folie Lab, Shop No.1, Libra Tower, 70, Hill Road, Opp. Saint Peters Church, Bandra(w), Mumbai 400 050.Divya Gopalan – Founder, Gunpowder Creative Services Divya_200pxSmoke House Deli opens early and is very close to home. It’s where I take friends after I pick them up from the airport, so they can tuck into a good wholesome breakfast and coffee and wash all the early morning cranky away. I like their eggs Florentine and usually have a coffee after. Smoke House Deli, 33rd Road, Pali Hill, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Road, Bandra (w), Mumbai 400 051. Phone: 022 6528 7800

Arundhati Dahiya – Editorial Assistant, Buzzfeed India

Arundhati_200pxI like the café at Prithvi Theatre because the food is really good and economical, the staff are friendly, and if there’s a long wait, then I can go into the book store to find something to read. But most of all, I like it because it is very real and people are always casually dressed – you’ll never find a blow-dried head and tons of make up in the mornings. I always order chai and aloo paratha, kheema pao, and bun muska are my go-to foods.

Prithvi Theatre, 20 Janki Kutir, Juhu Church Road, Mumbai 400 049. Phone: 022 2614 9546

Neysa Mendes – Arts Consultant/Founder, Good Slice

Neysa Mendes 1 - Photo Credit - Naman Saraiya_200pxKala Ghoda Café is my favourite spot for a solo breakfast because the coffee is good, the amaranth waffles are such a nice treat, and it’s in my favourite neighbourhood. After I’m done, I’ll always walk down to Filter, Obataimu, Artisan’s Centre and see what’s new. Kala Ghoda always makes me happy.

Kala Ghoda Café, Bharthania Building A Block, 10, Ropewalk Lane, Kala Ghoda, Fort, Mumbai 400 001. Phone: 022 2265 0195

Mehma Tibb – Costume designer and stylist

Mehma-Tibb_200pxSalt Water Café has been my go to breakfast place for years now! The Eggs Benedict are superb and the cream cheese salmon bagel is my favourite.

For the heavy eaters I’d suggest just go for the classic breakfast. It has everything… eggs, bacon, ham, cheese, hash browns, freshly baked bread, and a lovely cup of coffee or tea. It’s quieter in the mornings, so it’s a great place to start your work day with a breakfast meeting or just re-group your plan for the day. But I do love to go for one of those leisurely breakfast mornings where I can sit for hours without a care in the world on those long wooden benches ordering more food than I can eat.

Salt Water Café, 87, Chapel Road, Rose Minar Annexe, Reclamation, Bandra (w), Mumbai 400 050. Phone: 022 3003 8129

Cyrus Dalal – Photographer

Cyrus_200pxOtters Club has been my go to place in Bandra for a while. Most places in Bandra open for breakfast at 9 a.m., so when I want an early brekky, Otter’s is my choice. Also, they have everything from dosas to your usual eggs with baked beans and sausages along with club sandwiches. Being a good Parsi, the latter is definitely my choice. They even have a good akuri on the menu and an egg white omelette for the health freaks. The club is relatively quiet at that time and sitting by the sea, listening to the waves is an awesome start to my morning

Otters Club, Carter Road, Bandra (w), Mumbai 400 050.

Dhruv Pande – Pilot

Dhruv_200pxI love Indigo Deli in Colaba. It has big beautiful windows, which allow a lot of light in. Their breakfast menu is really good, especially the eggs benedict. I also love the fresh fruit juices, and I usually cap my breakfast off with a cup of coffee. The ambience during breakfast hours is always lively. There’s a good amount of chatter but nothing too loud to disrupt your personal space. You can always spot the occasional morning (hungover) beer/Bloody Mary drinker who gives you hope that someone is still having a blast.

Indigo Deli, 5, Ground Floor, Pheroze Building, Chhatrapati Shivaji Mahrishi Marg, Mumbai 400 039. Phone: 022 6655 1010

Ashith Balal – Head of Branded and Video Content at Firstpost

Ashith_200pxOne India Bulls has a food lobby. One of the places there (I forget the name) serves these meal plates. As a Delhi boy I can say that it is one of the better dal makhani, naan, and chicken tikkas I’ve had in Mumbai. They’ve got their game at Delhi standards, which is rarer than you’d think. While walking in just say “Gold’s Gym jaana hai” and enter. Then grab lunch.

One Indiabulls Centre, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel (w), Mumbai 400 013.

Kruti Dalal – Writer and Editor

Kruti-1_200pxSunday breakfast means Gokul in Borivali West. An udipi isn’t usually the best option for a leisurely morning meal, but our large family and larger appetites buy us at least an hour of gluttony.

We always start with the idli and medu vada. No need to open the menu for that. Even the usual suspects haven’t changed over the years. Everyone in the family has a standard order. Mine is the Mysore masala, generously slathered with green chutney and laden with cashews on the inside.

No breakfast is complete without sipping on milky coffee served in a beige cup and saucer while watching the chaos outside as day-trippers board the morning bus to Pune. They have a long day ahead. We have to drive just seven minutes for our mid-morning nap.

Gokul, Opp. Pai Nagar, SVP Road, Borivali (w), Mumbai 400 092.

Genesia Alves – Co-founder: The City Story

genesia-alvesThe tea at Good Luck Restaurant, no matter how you take it otherwise, is a treat. Sugar and milk and leaves boiled into an invigorating brew. Each of my children gets their own cup while we’re waiting for breakfast, and we will have at least one more while we eat. There’s bun – soft white bread with fruit peel – and butter slathered on with zero regard for modern times. There are omelettes, with or without cheese and chopped green chillies. And of course, there’s kheema – spiced enough to make your nose run but not singe your tongue – to be mopped up with the bun.

Good Luck Restaurant, 106, Hill Road, Mehboob Khan Chowk, Bandra (w), Mumbai 400 050.

Shivani Shah – Co-founder: The City Story 

shivani-shahThe Nutcracker, on a Sunday, for several reasons – I love their avocado toast (yes, I know, hipster) and Americano, iced or hot. Their Eton Mess is the bomb. It’s small and can get loud, but it’s intimate and homey. Kala Ghoda on a Sunday is so wonderful; it’s quiet and lovely to walk through

The Nutcracker, Modern House, Dr. V.B. Gandhi Marg, Fort, Mumbai 400 023. Phone: 022 2284 2430

Juhi Pande – Co-founder: The City Story

Juhi_200pxThere is no greater breakfast than idli-sambar and plain dosa at Cafe Madras in Matunga. Chase that with piping hot filter coffee and understand the meaning of paradise for a few minutes after. That might sound like hyperbole, but I love Cafe Madras (and dosa) so much it’s become an ongoing joke with my friends. I don’t live in Bombay anymore, but I still dream of Cafe Madras breakfasts. The service is quick, the staff are brusque, the turnover is breakneck. Go early. Order everything. And don’t skimp on the coffee.

Cafe Madras, No. 38-B, Ground Floor, Kamakshi Building, Bhaudaji Road, Kings Circle, Matunga, Mumbai 400 019. Phone: 022 2401 4419


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